Jan. 9, 2014
Tre Mason rushed into the record books with his 1,816 yards in 2013 (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Tre Mason is leaving Auburn the right way.
He broke Bo Jackson's single-season rushing record on his very last carry as Auburn Tiger, led the SEC in rushing, was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and always spoke highly of his school and teammates.
Mason announced Thursday he is forgoing his senior season and will enter the NFL Draft.
Mason leaves Auburn after rushing for more than a 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons, including his 1,816 yards this season, a mark that broke Jackson's record of 1,786 yards set in 1983. He's the second Auburn player to announce he's leaving early for the NFL. Offensive tackle Greg Robinson said Tuesday he'll enter the draft. He's projected to be the fourth overall pick by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.
Auburn is now projected to lose three offensive starters -- Mason, Robinson and senior fullback Jay Prosch -- from a unit that led the nation in rushing and broke school records for total offense, rushing offense, rushing attempts and plays from scrimmage. All of the helped Auburn finish with a 12-2 record and a No. 2 national ranking.
Auburn returns a stable running back corps of Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant, plus 2013 freshmen and redshirt freshmen who saw limited duty, plus new players in the recruiting class. Quarterback Nick Marshall, also a 1,000-yard rusher in 2013, will also return.
Mason finished with a flourish, rushing for 304 yards and scoring four touchdowns on a whopping 46 carries in leading Auburn to victory over Missouri in the SEC Championship Game and then rushing for 195 yards in Monday's BCS Championship Game in Pasadena. That was typical Mason. He did his best work against Auburn's toughest opponents.
Mason rushed for more than 100 yards in Auburn's final six games and did it nine times during the season. He also set an Auburn single-season records with 23 rushing touchdowns, by scoring 144 points and having 2,374 all-purpose yards.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine